Developer: Junction Point
Publisher: Disney Interactive
Released: November 18th 2012
The first Epic Mickey game, released exclusively on Wii, was a really nice surprise. Ever since the first concept artwork was unveiled we knew that the game was set to be different from the usual Disney themed game: it was a dark and mature take on Mickey Mouse, the world around him and even on some more obscure Disney characters like Oswald the Rabbit. Expectations were really high for Epic Mickey because it was developed by Junction Point, headed by experienced game designer Warren Spector: gamers were indeed hyped for the inclusion of many gameplay elements which would make the game stand above the standard Disney game. The game didn’t fully deliver but it was good enough to warrant a sequel which seemed to address some of the issues of the first game, at least on paper. Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome back to the Wasteland.
Back to the rescue
The game’s plot is really simple and straightforward but enjoyable: Mickey Mouse is back into the Wasteland to help Oswald save his world, threatened by constant earthquakes. Gus from the first Epic Mickey makes a comeback as the narrator and more characters are going to assist the duo in their quest to save the Wasteland once again. The game’s story is told through some really good looking animated cutscenes and more cutscenes with in-game graphics: the ingame scenes are really well made as well, sporting a “musical” like feeling, something Warren Spector really wanted to introduce in the series. The presentation overall shows really high production values.
Gameplay wise the game is not too different from its prequel: players will control Mickey and Oswald in a third person view exploring the Wasteland and interacting with a lot of objects during the stages. It’s almost like going back a few years when games like this were trying to ride on the success of Super Mario 64 and its innovative gameplay. A nice diversion during the main game is the inclusion of 2D stages which serve as a connection between the main stages: they are very simple and short so they’re nothing more than a diversion but if you’re a nostalgic you’ll like them as much as I did. Main stages are quite big and some of them actually work almost as a hub world where you’ll be able to take on various sidequests: it’s almost as if you’re playing a mini sandbox game and there’s plenty of stuff for you to do like collecting special items, unlocking extras and more details on the story.
Mickey and Oswald
One of the biggest additions in the Epic Mickey formula is the inclusion of Oswald the Rabbit as a playable character and the whole level design is based on using both Mickey and Oswald’s ability to be able to proceed. This feature hasn’t been executed to the best for a few reasons: Mickey is still the main focus, you can only control him in single player mode, and all the gameplay elements revolving around Oswald almost seem tackled in, just to justify his presence. It’s quite bad during single player due to a not too good AI that’s just going to slow you down but during offline co-op it can be quite fun. But if you stop and think about it, you can clearly understand that the game was designed with Mickey’s abilities in mind and that the co-op feature is just a gimmick to introduce a multiplayer mechanic which in the end just creates more annoyances if you’re going to play the game only in single player mode.
Choices, choices and more choices
Another addition to the formula is the choices system, which will have some consequences during the game. Warren Spector constantly stressed the “PlayStyle Matters” system during interviews, stating how the game’s world would always react to player’s choices. Is it really like this? Yes and no. Yes because it’s indeed true that players will have a lot of freedom in how to proceed during the story, how to solve puzzles, how to tackle subquests and so on, even having the possibility to take some “moral” choices which will change NPC behaviors towards our duo; no because the choices have a really small impact and only on the current stage, the impact will be minimal on the whole world: it’s understandable though, given the type of game and it’s even bold including something like this considering that the game is mostly aimed at a younger audience. Still, it’s disappointing, given how much this system was hyped and how it turned out in the end.
Camera, how much you loathe me
Being developed on Wii and then ported to all platforms, Epic Mickey 2 isn’t as strong as one could have expected graphically: polygon count is low and the whole game is lacking on special effects. But it’s not really a big problem since the game’s presentation really shines thanks to an excellent design for both the locations and the characters: the iconic Disney characters are placed inside a great rethinking of other classic Disney places and the result is really great, you’ll almost feel like your playing through a cartoon. Everything described so far, however, is not enough to make me overlook a terrible, terrible, terrible camera: it’s never spot on the action and requires constant adjusting. The standard view is set way too low or in strange angles, it’s practically useless and even unnerving, ruining the whole experience. It’s slightly better than the first Epic Mickey but at times it’s just as unbearable.
Epic Mickey 2: The Power Of Two was really hyped during development and too much hype somewhat made the game feel less impressive than it is: there’s a lot to do and many new features but most of them lack polish and probably needed more work on them, especially the AI partner.; it’s not a bad game though. Unfortunately the horrible camera drags the whole experience down more than any other issue. With a lot of content and secrets to uncover, all players who liked the first Epic Mickey will surely enjoy this one too as well as players looking for a good co-op game without guns and futuristic soldiers, aliens, zombies and so on. Everyone else may want to try the game first even to only check if the camera issue is a big deal for you as much as it was for me.
- Great presentation
- Tons of content
- Fun co-op mode
- Freedom of choice during puzzle solving
- AI Partner
- Choices system not too deep
- Oswald’s sections seem tackled in
- Horrible Camera
6.5 out of 10
Article from Gamersyndrome.com